Tiger King star Carole Baskin is selling Joe Exotic’s former Wynnewood, Oklahoma zoo and making sure it will never become a zoo again. Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue sanctuary had control over the former G.W. Zoo property for over a year after a judge awarded her ownership at the end of her trademark lawsuit against Exotic. Baskin found a buyer for the property in June, according to legal documents obtained by TMZ.
In June, Francisco and Nelly Vazquez bought the property from Big Cat Rescue for $140,000. Baskin previously said whoever bought the property could not use it as a zoo or have anything to Tiger King. The deed specifically bars the Vazquezs from using the land to house exotic animals or create a zoo for 100 years. If they establish a business on the property, the new owners cannot use a name that links it to Tiger King, or includes the words “tiger” and “big cat.”
Back in June 2020, a federal judge granted Baskin ownership of the 16.4-acre property once owned by Exotic. The judge ruled that Exotic fraudulently transferred ownership of the zoo to avoid paying Baskin the $1 million trademark lawsuit judgment. Big Cat Rescue sued Exotic’s mother, Shirley Shreibvogel in 2016 for fraudulent transfer. Shreibvogel later admitted under oath that Exotic transferred ownership to her in an effort to avoid his creditors. The judge gave the then-current owners of the Wynnewood property 120 days to take all animals off the property and leave. The owner at that time happened to be Jeff Lowe, whom Exotic sold the property to in 2016. Before the ruling, Lowe tried to capitalize on the success of Netflix’s Tiger King series by renaming the zoo “Tiger King Park.”
Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is still in jail. He was convicted on 17 federal charges of animal abuse and two counts of attempted murder for hire for a plot to kill Baskin. Exotic was originally sentenced to 22 years in prison, but an appeals court ruled in July that the penalty was too harsh. He was resentenced to 17 years.
Baskin and Exotic became national celebrities in March 2020, when Netflix released the documentary series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness just before the coronavirus lockdowns. Although the series isn’t quite as popular as it was last year, Hollywood is still moving forward with an effort to dramatize the story. A Peacock limited series starring John Cameron Mitchell as Exotic and Kate McKinnon as Baskin is now in production. The series will also star William Fitchner as reality show producer Rick Kirkham and Kyle MacLachlan as Baskin’s husband Howard Baskin. It is based on the Wonderly podcast Joe Exotic: Tiger King, which included several details not mentioned in the Netflix series.